Corned Beef Contender
But enough about Zingerman's. Anyone familiar with Detroit delis will ask if Avgoustis has the full Bread Basket menu. He has most of it, though a few favorites are missing. No cheese blintzes (the size of a bell pepper, and three to a serving, food bloggers frequently sigh about them), no kreplach, no hot beef sandwiches, at least not yet. Far and away the most popular menu item is corned beef, either straight ($8.25) or in a dozen different combinations, topping out in four-layer monsters like Jason's Jammer (corned beef on white toast with chopped liver, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Russian dressing, $10.75). "I'm starting to think there's a big Jewish population around here," says Avgoustis. "They said to be careful on the tongue and chopped liver--they don't sell so well at some of the locations. But the first week I ran out."
It's not a kosher deli--you can get ham and bacon, but they take a definite backseat to the beef charcuterie: salami (both hard and soft), roast brisket, pastrami, and peppered beef. Bread Basket also has classic Jewish sides like potato knishes and chicken broth served meatless with noodles or matzo balls. Desserts--including carrot cake, cheesecake, caramel cake--are displayed at the register, wrapped in cellophane, as if advertising themselves as midnight snacks. "Most people don't finish their sandwiches," Avgoustis explains. "If they do, they just want to go home and take a nap."
Bread Basket Deli, 4003 Carpenter (Arbor Square). 677-7717. Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Closed Sun. www.breadbasketdelis.com